On November 5th, the citizens of Loveland will go to the polls and elect three people to serve four years as their representatives on the City Council. Mayor Kathy Bailey and Councilwoman Angie Settell will be asking the voters for their support again, Councilman Kent Blair who was not elected to his seat, Mayor Bailey appointed him, will be asking voters for their support for the first time. Previous council candidate Andy Bateman, along with first time candidates Cory O’Donnell and Pat Ahr, round out the six person field.
Loveland’s municipal elections are considered non-partisan. You will not see a political party affiliation next to any candidates name on the ballot. Yet the candidates themselves are not non-partisan. All but one of the city council candidates has a declared political affiliation. Pat Ahr is listed as a registered independent. Mayor Bailey, Councilwoman Settell, and candidates Bateman and O’Donnell are all registered Republicans. Councilman Kent Blair is a registered Democrat. While the election is non-partisan, most of the candidates have a definite partisan loyalty.
Mayor Kathy Bailey has been particularly active in local republican politics over the last few years. She is a ward chair, she campaigns and works with other Republican campaigns to get their people in office. She has been called a “good republican” by many people associated with the local party. She has even selected a fellow Republican, Andy Bateman, to run on the ticket with her in the upcoming election.
Oh, she also picked the Democrat Kent Blair to run with her.
It should not be a surprise that Republican Kathy Bailey has decided to run, fund raise with, and promote Democrat Kent Blair. Kathy Bailey’s first significant act as mayor was to appoint Kent Blair to the open seat on Loveland’s City Council. She choose Blair because she felt like “he shared her values”. While Mayor Bailey has been trying to strengthen her Republican Party support, she also strengthened the Democratic Party by giving one of their members an influential place in the City of Loveland’s political future.
Yet Mayor Kathy Bailey is not alone in endorsing the values and philosophy of Democrats in Loveland. Recently the Hamilton County Republican Precinct Executives met to hand out endorsements for the upcoming 2019 municipal elections. The Republican Precinct Executives in Loveland are the people who are elected by Republicans on a partisan ballot to represent the party at the local level. These are not non-partisan “reach across the aisle” type positions. The Precinct Executives are the arm of the County party that is supposed to represent the philosophy and strategy of the GOP. The Precinct Executives voted 6-1 to endorse only Kathy Bailey and Andrew Bateman. The other candidates were not even present to speak on their candidacy. By being secretive, and not inclusive, the Loveland Precinct Executives supported Kathy Bailey’s chosen slate of two Republicans and one Democrat. The Loveland Republican Precinct Executives have decided to make a shadow endorsement of Democrat Kent Blair. They have helped Kathy Bailey legitimize and strengthen the opposition party in their own hometown.
It is obvious that Kathy Bailey, Andrew Bateman, and the large majority of the Republican Precinct executives wanted to have this meeting with no opposing voices. Mayor Bailey wanted to increase the chances of her victory by using the Hamilton County GOP’s endorsements, and at the same time wanted to enhance the chance of victory for Democrat Kent Blair by not having all the endorsements filled by republicans. This was a typical “back room deal” made between the republicans and democrats to work together and circumvent the wishes of the people who elected them. The endorsement process in Loveland was one of strategy and not one of promoting a political party’s philosophy. The Republican Precinct Executives want to ensure the elections of Kathy Bailey, Andy Bateman, and Kent Blair, and they do not care about ensuring the victory of the Republican Party. These kind of secret deals are why the younger generations are giving up on the current political organizations. Loveland’s Republicans are the authors of their own party’s failures.
It did not have to be this way. There are three seats and four Republicans running. The Precinct Executives are elected by republicans to serve the interests of their party. Yes, Kathy Bailey and Andy Bateman are Republicans, but so are Angie Settell and Cory O’Donnell. Ms. Settell is very active in the Hamilton County GOP being the leader of multiple Republican Clubs and a strong fundraiser for the party. Cory O’Donnell is an elected Republican Precinct Executive.
You read that right. A Republican Precinct Executive was passed over for endorsement by local Republicans so they could shadow endorse a Democrat. The Hamilton County GOP, who has not had a lot of successes in the last few years, decided to secretly back a Democrat for office rather than endorse a person who was elected by Republicans to represent the party’s philosophy and vision. The Hamilton County GOP did not even let Mr. O’Donnell or Ms. Settell the opportunity to make their case for being endorsed. Again, this is why the younger generations are giving up political parties. The powers that be in the Hamilton County GOP are allowing ill advised tactics by trying to trick loyal Republicans in Loveland to vote for a Democrat.
In the upcoming months, and throughout all of 2020, the local Republicans in Loveland, and the Hamilton County GOP are going to tell the voters that their party needs to band together and not let the Democrats continue their winning streak in Southwest Ohio. They will tell you this hoping that you forget that in 2019 prominent Loveland Republicans met in secret to shadow endorse a Democrat because Kathy Bailey wanted it that way. They hope you will forget about their deceit. Do not be fooled.
RD Kulik is a resident of the City of Loveland.
Contact him on twitter @TattlerLoveland.